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The Planet

Shut it Down

Shut it Down!An investigation has revealed that a too-thin barrier between a coal mine and the slurry-waste lagoon above it caused the cave-in and subsequent 250-million-gallon sludge spill in Martin County, Ky., pictured in the December 2000 Planet. The spill contaminated 70 miles of waterways. The state has ordered the coal operation to shut down.

Breathe Easier

Stricter standards for soot and smog, implemented by the Clinton administration in 1997, were upheld by the Supreme Court in February after a Clean Air Act challenge led by the American Trucking Association. The Environmental Protection Agency must consider only public health and safety when setting air-quality standards, and is not required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, the court ruled.

Sierra Nevada Spared

Sierra Nevada SparedBoth spotted owls and old-growth forests in the Sierra garner additional protection under a Forest Service management plan approved in January. The sweeping plan, covering 11 national forests, considers the entire ecosystem, an approach advocated by the Sierra Club. In addition, it severely curtails logging. "Basically, the commercial logging program is not going to exist," said Barbara Boyle, former regional field director for California/Nevada/Hawaii.
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